Robert Thames was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2014. Since then, he has been in remission several times but is now in Stage 4 of the disease. The Belden-area resident, within the past couple months, has been a regular customer of The Green Guys Dispensary in Saltillo, where he buys his CBD (cannabidiol) to help alleviate his insomnia. “I take opiates for pain,” said the 63-year-old Thames. But what he really wants to see is medical marijuana finally legalized in Mississippi; it was approved by 74 percent of voters in the November 2020 election but was thrown out by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May because of a glitch in the state constitution. Its future is unknown while the legislature grapples with a solution to the quandary. Thames figures that legalized medical marijuana will help alleviate some of his pain so he can rely less on highly addictive opiate drugs. CBD is a product of the marijuana-related hemp plant. It does not produce a “high” like authentic marijuana does but does provide some of the other benefits of the still illegal plant. According to Mark Cash, owner of The Green Guys, some of his CBD customers use it to reduce anxiety. It was legalized in Mississippi two years ago. Cash opened the dispensary in January with the intention of being able to dispense medical marijuana once it was legalized. Caleb Bedford anticipated the same when he opened The Fox Den on South Gloster Street in April. Both men, and likely dozens of other shop owners across Mississippi, now rely on CBD, vaping supplies and other goods to keep their doors open while the medical marijuana issue is settled. “When it passed,” said Bedford, “I thought there is no way I’m not getting in.” Now, he said, it is a matter of waiting. Bedford said he suffered from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) following some personal tragedies in the past few years; he tried relieving it with marijuana use but tired of the high. When he discovered CBD, it relieved his PTSD in a safer way. “I can’t believe 74 percent of voters approved it and the legislature won’t act on it.” Both Bedford and Cash offer several forms of CBD: oils, edibles, flower (the buds of the hemp plant), lotions and bath “bombs,” which are added to bath water and allowed to penetrate the skin. CBD products must contain less than .3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and produces the high. Chronic-pain patients like Thames are in a similar lurch as dispensary owners. They are, however, dealing with more serious issues as the medical marijuana issue is punted around in Jackson: “I would prefer medical marijuana but CBD is the only legal choice at this point,” said Thames. “Medical marijuana should be available for compassionate reasons.” Thames goes even a step farther in his marijuana quest: “I would back (legalizing) recreational marijuana, as well,” he said.